Gene Could Provide Link to Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment

Researchers in the United Kingdom may have found a gene that could provide clues for the development of better treatment options for psoriatic arthritis (PsA) patients in the future.

Researchers in the United Kingdom may have found a gene that could provide clues for the development of better treatment options for psoriatic arthritis (PsA) patients in the future.

According to a press release from the University of Manchester, the research team found gene variants that are connected to psoriatic arthritis but not other forms of psoriasis. Working as part of a European consortium, the Manchester team published the results of the 3-year study in Nature Communications, highlighting their potentially groundbreaking work.

“Our study is beginning to reveal key insights into the genetics that explain fundamental differences between psoriasis and PsA,” noted John Bowes, MD, who was charged with leading the data analysis. “Our findings also highlight that CD8+ cells are likely to be the key drivers of inflammation in PsA. This will help us focus on how the genetic changes act in those immune cells to cause disease.”

The press release noted that the gene “lies on chromosome 5 and is not the first PsA-specific gene to be identified.” Previous studies have linked the HLA-B27 gene to the condition as well.

“By identifying genes that predispose people to PsA but not psoriasis, we hoe in the future to be able to test patients with psoriasis to find those at high risk of developing PsA,” said senior author, professor Ann Barton. As a rheumatologist Barton added, “Excitingly, it raises the possibility of introducing treatments to prevent the development of PsA in those individuals in the future.”

If the results of the study are proven to benefit patients going forward, Stephen Simpson, director of research at Arthritis Research UK called it a “significant finding.” He added, “Not only does it help establish PsA as a condition in its own right, but it could have major implications in the way that patients with this condition are treated and lead to the development of drugs specifically for PsA, which are greatly needed.

The study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Manchester Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit.